I’ve been spending the week in my hometown over Spring Break, and it’s been a nice time of visiting friends and family. On my way home from lunch with my mom at a favorite restaurant this afternoon, I drove past the park in the middle of town. There was a fire truck parked in front of it, with many cars lining the street. I was immediately struck with a precious memory from when I was little and would go to the park for an Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday before Easter.
The children from town would be anxiously waiting with their buckets in hand in a long line on the sidewalk that stretched the entire block. In front of them, in the grassy lawn of the park, were hundreds of colored, shiny eggs and glittery pieces of wrapped candy. Lengths of white string divided the park in sections for each age group to make the hunt as fair as possible. As the time grew nearer, the sidewalk was crowded with children dancing with excitement as they waited for the whistle to blow.
I remember standing with my little brother on the sidewalk and looking out at all the treasures in the grass. I knew that among the candy, there were a few eggs that actually had money in them–maybe as much as five dollars! I tried to guess where those eggs must be—probably near the back of the park so they wouldn’t be found easily in the first moments. I considered my strategy. Should I run as fast as I could to the back of the park, or start picking up eggs along the way? I wasn’t sure what to do. I looked at the other boys and girls around me and knew that I probably wasn’t as fast as they were. Yet…I thought I had a chance if I ran straight past them all.
The signal for the hunt to begin was a wail from the fire siren on the truck parked nearby. As soon as we heard the first note, we all dashed forward and became a chaotic frenzy of running children, stopping abruptly and bending over to pick up candy in every direction. I quickly realized that I was going to be outrun to the back of the park, so somewhere in the middle I started picking up every shiny object in my path and throwing it in my bucket.
In no time at all, the park was picked clean of its Easter treasures and we all started walking back to the sidewalk to show our parents what we had gathered. I remember feeling disappointed that I hadn’t picked up very much, but between my brother and I, we had plenty. None of our eggs had money in them, but as we walked back to the car we were excited and happy for the fun we had.
As I turned by the park today to go up the hill, I wondered if there had really been another Egg Hunt, or if the fire truck parked nearby was just a coincidence. Growing up in a small town gave me a bit of a magical childhood, and this memory is one of many that I treasure. I’m very grateful that I grew up where and when I did, and I hope that the children who are hunting eggs in their homes or hometowns this weekend make memories that are just as special.